Anonymous Hacks Iranian Government Servers
Anonymous has breached the servers of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, in the lastest cyber warfare twist
The hacktivist group known as Anonymous continues its hacking attacks against various nations with the news it has penetrated servers belonging to the Iranian Government.
Back in January it was revealed that Anonymous had begun targeting sovereign nations, after it began launching attacks against the government websites of Zimbabwe and Tunisia.
And now it seems that the group has Iran firmly in its sights. According to the International Business Times (IBT), Anonymous hacked into Iranian government servers and procured over 10,000 email messages from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The hack is said to be part of the group’s efforts in the run up to the second anniversary of the Iranian general election in June 2009, which was the subject of widespead protests.
Iranian Cover Up?
Specifically, media reports suggest that the Anonymous hackers were able to access the servers belonging to the Iranian Passport and Visa Office email centre.
The bulk of the files are visa applications for an “oil meeting…. many from China,” a source was quoted as saying by the IBT. The source added “it was a big raid,” and that the Iranian government has been in the process of trying to cover up the incident for the past few days.
“I have been told that they have had the site opened and closed on and off for days now,” the source was quoted as saying. “They have been behaving erratically.”
The publication also quoted a member of Anonymous as saying that the files were lifted as part of the group’s attempts to damage the image of Iran in “both cyber space and the real world.”
“I don’t know why the Islamic regime keeps providing money to their cyber army while they can’t secure their most important mail server,” the Anonymous member was quoted as saying.
He could be referring to the suspicions of many western governments that countries such as Iran, and also China, are actively sponsoring or funding cyber attacks against foreign governments and companies.
Earlier this week for example Google revealed that hackers (apparently originating from China) managed to access thousands of Gmail accounts belonging to US government and South Korean officials.
Google of course was notoriously a victim of Chinese hackers in late 2009 and early 2010 which sparked a diplomatic row and led the search engine giant to threaten to withdraw from mainland China completely.
Iranian Cyber Army
And some attacks have been identified as coming from Iran in the past.
In March this year the theft of SSL certificates for major websites such as Google, Yahoo and Skype from certificate authority Comodo, was blamed as the work of a lone 21-year-old Iranian hacker.
Meanwhile the Iranian Cyber Army is a group of malicious hackers that gained notoriety in December 2009 when it hacked Twitter’s DNS (Domain Name System) records and successfully managed to redirect roughly 80 percent of the site’s traffic to another website.
Twitter users were redirected to a page that read: “Iranian Cyber Army … This Website Has Been Hacked by Iranian Cyber Army.”
The group has also previously attacked the Chinese search engine Baidu and the Voice of America website.
And last October it was revealed that the Iranian Cyber Army was selling or renting access to its botnets.
For its part Iranian government systems have been also been on the receiving end of attacks before. The Stuxnet virus attack for example was known to have disrupted centrifuge control systems at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site last year.
Forensic analyses indicated that attack was probably the work of US and Israeli intelligence services.
The British government meanwhile recently acknowledged it has begun work on a “toolbox” of offensive cyber-weapons to complement its existing defensive capabilities.